Translating the Book of Mormon GAME SHOW!!


Translating the Book of Mormon GAME SHOW!! – powered by Happy Scribe

So we’ve literally gotten one sentence into this translation and the scribes already have both scribes.

My hands already cramping.


Hey, guys, welcome to this episode of Saints and scripted. We’re going to do a little experiment. So Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon, and it was a very hard process, very difficult. But he had the guns of the spirit. We’ve done out episodes before talking about how he translated. Right. Using the urban thumb and the Searstones. And one thing that people don’t really realize is regardless of inspiration, I feel like that would have been really hard, like him and Oliver Calgary doing eight pages a day non stop for hours.


And maybe you guys have heard the story of Joseph, like looking into a hat because it’s hard to concentrate and focus and to see there’s a lot of things I don’t think we take into account. And so what we want to do today is a little like experiment to see how hard maybe it could have been. So bear with us. We have a phone at the lowest dim level. Right. Difficult to read. You know, the light reflection. We have a hat to help me be able to see the words. And then we have our contestants for translation. So what we’re going to do.

We have a box cutter.

What is it for pencil sharpening, if need be?

Yeah. So obviously there are a lot of why there are a lot of things that we can’t exactly duplicate, for instance, like a Sears phone. Hence we have a phone here.

We can do the same.

Maybe they just have an iPhone, but yeah, also they wouldn’t have used pencils. So we’ve got really blunt pencils. And the Exacto knife is in case we need to sharpen them because we don’t have a pencil sharpener.

Yes. This is a game.

Don’t take this too seriously. Please don’t get just be chill. Okay. Yes. We have nine by eleven paper. Joseph didn’t have nine X eleven paper. We’re bigger than that. We’re going to be okay. But we just thought it’d be fun to see how it goes.

I’ll read a few sentences. They’re going to write them down as best they can. They’re going to read them back to me and we’ll see who got closer to what the actual meaning was. And then we’ll take turns and see who’s better at it, I guess.

Yeah. We’ll see what happens out of this. You guys go, ready?

Okay. Also, if you guys want to follow along, see if you can keep up with the pace and write it out and see how that compares. That’s fun, too.

It’s not going to be very difficult to out.

Right. You guys can pause it. But also one of the rules is you can’t erase things. You have to cross it out and keep writing. And I don’t know, are there any other things, like no punctuations?

I mean, we could add them later.

Yeah, we’ll see.

Okay. I feel like that’s. Okay.

This is already starting. Great. That actually works really well. I’m impressed. Okay.


I deny the major and the minor of this conditional S-Y-L-L-O-G-I-S-M. As for the major, ID. Hey, conditional. Okay. Wait, I’ll spell that word again.

Wait, I’m not even to that word.

I D major and the minor of this conditional S-Y-L-L-O-G-I-S. As for I do not admit it. Should I do more? I feel like that.

Okay, so I deny the major and the minor of this conditional syllogism. As for the major, I do not admit it. Correct. Yeah, that’s what I said. Okay.

Do I know what it means? I don’t think I do. Well, keep going a little bit. Yeah. Okay. This is an aside. When they were translating, there was no punctuation. So when Joseph was reading, Oliver Cowdery didn’t have any guides for the punctuation that was put in later. So I’m doing that here. There’s punctuation here, but I’m just pretending like there isn’t. I’m stopping and starting whenever I want. So that could change the meaning that you guys are pulling from it. I mean, you already put a period. I know.

I assumed that you stopped at the end of the sentence.

Yeah. So who knows if Joseph stopped?

We’ve literally gotten one sentence into this translation, and the scribes already have an error.

My hand is already cramping.

Great, because I can spell inference. I couldn’t read it at first. I wasn’t sure what through spelling.

Well, to your credit, you’re reading in, like, handwriting.

Yeah, it’s cursive. It’s an older cursive, so I was like, I couldn’t tell where it was.

Cursive is a struggle.

It’s an older code, but it checks out.

What’s about to clear them? Okay. Inference from the part to the whole frame. Intelligent creatures to AllCreatures. E-I-T-L-Y tacitly. Is that checking going? You had read me back. What you guys got? Make sure we’re on.

Because this supposed inference from the part to the whole, from intelligent creatures to all creatures assumes constantly.

What are we writing?

I am not comprehending this at all.

Is there any context for what we’re doing here? That’s probably a great reaction. Joseph Smith was probably like, I have no idea what is coming. It’s like Michael Scott. I start a sentence and sometimes.

I don’t know, like an improv conversation improvisation. Well, I feel like I think the Book of Mormon definitely has more of a narrative structure. So I’m sure there was times where, like, this happened and this happened, but then you get to the Isaiah chapters, and I’m sure it was just like, I don’t even know, am I in the middle of the sentence? Am I at the beginning or the end of a thought?

It would have been cool. They would have been, like, watching this movie play out in front of them and not knowing what’s going to happen next. And I think about stories of Joseph Smith being like, wait, I didn’t know Jerusalem had walls. Emma, does Jerusalem have walls? She’s like, yeah, okay, let’s keep going then, I guess.

But just like it would have been, especially since if you’ve grown up in the Church, then you hear these stories growing up. So by the time you’re adult, you’re like, yeah, that’s just how it always has been. But to be an adult and be like, yeah, it’s all new. What do I do? What is eminent what happens that would have been motivating for me. Why they plugged through this.

Yeah. Let’s see what happens here.

They’re binging translating.

And also because the funding. Right. This is all they’re doing all day. They’re not making money. They got to get it done as fast as they can. They can get back to work to feed their families kind of thing. And they had help from people.

Yeah, well, I’m like, Oliver didn’t have family yet, but he would soon marry one of the Whitmer girls.

One of the things I have to read so slowly, I didn’t even think about it. But I say a word and I’m going to the next room. I’m like, oh, they’re still going. And then I’m like, I should probably wait.

It would be so interesting to do this. I feel like typing would just be way easier, but even so, it’s hard to type and keep up with someone talking in real time. If you’ve ever tried it. Yours is so nice looking and condensed in the top of the page. I would have run out of room in like three more sentences.

I would not have been very efficient with this.

He would have resources.


I wonder if Oliver started off like that. This is going to be a two page.

Yeah. And you’re like squeezing it at the bottom. What’s interesting, too, is like how we’re joking about how we don’t really know what’s going on. Even if the story was happening pretty straightforward. I was just reading word after word. By the time I had read the next word, I had already forgotten what the previous word was. I’m just like focusing on the next one and the next one. So I wouldn’t be surprised if it was just like emotionally, physically exhausting to sit there and without punctuation.

It is really hard to. I don’t know where a sentence begins and ends.

Right. Luckily, the Nephi language, the reformed Egyptian has. And it came to pass some kind of textual. Mary, if you look at the ancient Egyptian writings that we have that there are symbols that mean next new thought, right? End of thought, beginning of thought. So they definitely had a guide. So I’m being a little exaggerated there, I’m sure.

But still, it’s like cracking a code. I feel like this is like national treasure.

See that? That’s quite something. Is it yeah, it says smudge.

I’m pretty sure, like, he had to write some stuff down and then figure out.

Okay, so we’re switching texts now. We’re no longer translating what we were before. Before. Can we say what we were translating before?

It was a philosopher.

It was some philosopher.

A couple of hundred years ago. Maybe yesterday. It could be.

You wouldn’t know because we don’t know what he’s saying.

Yeah, okay.

I actually kind of do need this.

That’s the thing. It’s kind of funny that you need it to block out the light.

All right. Sky is ready.


Hey. And the Lord called unto Moses and Spake unto him out of the Tabernacle of the congregation. Justin, do you need me to spell that?

No. Maybe it’s not us saying.

Speak unto the children of Israel and say unto them, if any man of you bring an offering unto the Lord.


Ye shall bring even of the herd.

I’m just, like, make his time and of the flesh no end of the flock.

If his offering be a burnt sacrifice. Wait, what if his offering be a burnt sacrifice? This is so hard without punctuation. Don’t write that.

Do you think Joseph ever did that? He said something, and Oliver was like, man, that’s crazy.

I’m looking for a stopping point, but you should just stop, okay?

I’ll just stop for lunch.

Let’s go skip some rocks.

Martin, I wonder if Oliver’s writing ever just looks terrible.

You know, because we should do a comparison writing that fast.

Yours is probably more.

I feel like mine is maybe the worst.

I don’t know. Look at mine. I think yours is better.

This is mine.

It’s interesting, though.

Mine like, some of them.

David, you write in all caps.

I do write in all caps.

How do you write in all caps?

That’s hard.

When I didn’t write in all caps, my handwriting was just terrible. Terrible. That’s me.

My handwriting is terrible. Terrible.

You should try all caps for some reason.

No, that makes sense.

I tried to do that. I tried to switch over while I was on my mission to all caps.

And that kind of stuff shows up in the original manuscript when you’re not quite. Maybe that might not be true, but I’m sure.

Okay, that was fun.

That was interesting. Yeah, it was stressful.

I misread something. I misread something when I was reading and had to correct myself. I think I said.

You said it.

I said flash instead of flock.

Oh, yeah. Luckily, I hadn’t gotten to that. We were that far.



I just wonder, like, I wonder how often maybe that happened with Joseph. Maybe misreading something from the Searstone.

I wonder if we’ll ever know how much human error was allowed if my father’s like. I mean, because he gives us agency, and he’s not going to be like, I don’t know.

Just add that to the list of questions you want to ask. It judgment.


It’s so interesting. But overall, for those that aren’t Latterday Saints watching us read something from a hat like Joseph Smith, we’re not ignorant to the fact that it looks weird. We know that that’s a weird idea. But at the same time, for me, it’s just like.

How is this not weird? Well, we’re staring at a true just you’re outside and it’s sunny and you’re looking at your phone. But the question is.

For me, how did he fake it if it’s not real?

And that’s not, like.

Approved that it’s real.

What was the point of that?

What? We had a secret manuscript. Why didn’t he just publish it and say, look at what God gave me instead of like, risking exposure with scribes and rewriting it and all this other stuff?

But anyways, valid, just lots of questions and just writing in general. Like I was saying, this is exhausting. And so for him to have done it in that time period, like, for them to do it together that fast with no inspiration or nothing to draw from without a stack of books next to you. Yeah, exactly.

And that consecutively for hours.

I just know I wouldn’t be able to do it, nor would I have had any desire to. You would have to have such a strong desire to fool so many people, which is fine. Some people, I mean, there’s bad people out there.

When I was in high school, I did speech and debate, and I would memorize like ten minute long prewritten speeches, stuff that other people had written, like David Sidaris comedic speeches.


And I memorized the whole thing and recite them. But I feel like reciting something as slowly as you are writing is very different than reciting something as like a lecture.


Just like having to go carefully, word by word by word would be extraordinarily difficult.

It’s a lot of concentration. Yeah. What’s James doing?

Like, he’s got a secret manuscript, and at night he’s going home and memorizing just ginormous chunks of it and then repeating them.

That don’t make no sense.

Don’t make no sense.

Well, and at the end of the day, we’re just trying to gain maybe more appreciation for what they went through, kind of better understanding. Like, man, the translation process was hard. That was kind of the whole point of this. But at the end of the day, as far as your testimony, whether or not it’s true, whether or not Joseph was a Prophet, that comes from you reading the Book of Mormon and praying about it like we’ve said, and we’ll say, and then this is just like kind of fun, supplemental.

Where did you base your testimony off this activity?

They’re right.

We didn’t get very far.

We got like three.

Four sentences in this whole episode.

I was already cramping my forearm. I got no. Yeah. All right, we’re going to end now. Fade out.

If you did this comment and let us know how it went and just like and subscribe to our channel. If you haven’t turned onto notifications. We would love that. But thanks for joining us today, guys.


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